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(written in the late 80s/early 90s)
"Hypertext is non-sequential text."
Ted Nelson, NELSON
Computer Lib/Dream Machines
By this definition,
lots of things are
whole earth (A slightly dated list, eh?
catalog. No mention of "the" web.)
Nelson has a dream of
would have _all_ A typical -- and trivial --
information in example of a hypertext is a
immediately document with highlighted
accessible words that you can "click"
computerized form, on to see a further
all connected and explanation of the term.
indexed by a dynamic
web of links. EXAMPLES
Eric Drexler in _Engines of Creation_
talks about forward tracing
references: I just read a paper This may seem mundane.
about the physics of sputtering, I doubt that it is:
from 1923. How do I know it wasn't Imagine a world where
discredited a few years later? ignorance can no longer
Drexler's point is that if all be an excuse for lies.
technical papers were stored on
line, the references to previous LIES
work could be traced forward to
find later comments.
And there's this thing DEEP_GNU
you're reading, the
"doomfile". The idea is to Thus far I pronounce
outline my thoughts as it good. Useful for
briefly as possible and try _me_, at least...
and take it all a few steps
further. Could be a new
prose form? HYPERART
As hypertexts go, it's Would the doomfile make
limited. It relies more sense if I drew
mostly on the implicit boxes around all the
links of a 2-D para's, and connected
graphical layout. The them with little arrows
use of special search like a flow chart?
key words as long
distance links strikes Maybe. But I wouldn't
me as clever in a few like the way it looked.
ways, but it has
A problem with non-linear works
implemented as plain text: If I
start flipping through a work
at random (e.g. Nelson's _Dream
Machines_) I get to the point
where the things that catch my
eye are things that I've read
before. This gets boring fast,
despite the fact that I know
that more than half of the work
remains un-read. These days, I
read _The Whole Earth Review_
with a pencil in hand, rather
anally checking off items in
the Table of Contents as I look
Better to have anal retentive
computers than people.
"A literature is a system of interconnected writings.
We do not offer this as our definition, but as a
discovered fact. And almost all writing is part of
-- Ted Nelson, Literary Machines
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